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BackStory with the American History Guys

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BackStory is a weekly one-hour public radio show that provides a national broadcast audience with an enjoyable and accessible way of engaging challenging themes in American history and how they connect with today. The show is hosted by renowned historians Peter Onuf, Ed Ayers, and Brian Balogh. BackStory’s signature sound and spirit of inquiry emanates from the hearts and minds of its genial hosts, whose unscripted brilliance reflects a warmth and rapport that comes from their longtime friendship.

Please confirm carriage of BackStory with the American History Guys by contacting Andrew Parsons at (434) 982-2955 or andrewparsons@virginia.edu.

Moving from current headlines to drill down into U.S. history, each surprising BackStory episode features lively interviews with a diverse roster of scholars, experts, and ordinary citizens from around the country; listener calls; host discussions; and produced pieces. Topics are as diverse as college sports, reenactments, sugar, memorials, domestic terrorism, birthing, homeownership, the post office, philanthropy, protests, privacy, marriage, revivalism, and childhood—all in the context of American history.

Since BackStory first began as a monthly show in 2008, episodes have been broadcast by more than 130 primary stations in 39 states, 29 in the top 50 markets by population. Podcasts have been downloaded 1.4 million times.

BackStory is produced by VFH Radio at the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities. Major funding is provided by the National Endowment for the Humanities with additional corporate, foundation, institutional, and individual support.

Please visit our station landing page for upcoming episodes, promotional photos, and other information.

 


Pieces

Caption: Film crew on location., Credit: Los Angeles Public Library.
30-second promo for "Real to Reel" with 5-second music bed at end for station-specific time/date tag.

  • Added: Feb 09, 2016
  • Length: :00
Caption: Film crew on location., Credit: Los Angeles Public Library.
30-second promo for "Real to Reel" with 5-second music bed at end for station-specific time/date tag.

Bought by 90.1 WFYI Public Radio


  • Added: Feb 09, 2016
  • Length: :30
  • Purchases: 1
Caption: 'Toward Los Angeles, Calif.,' by Dorothea Lange, 1937. , Credit: Library of Congress
More than 100 million Americans will tune in to watch the Denver Broncos and the Carolina Panthers duke it out at Super Bowl 50. And in between the...

Bought by XRAY.fm, WRIR, WMUU-LP, 90.1 WFYI Public Radio, and KBRP Community Radio


  • Added: Feb 05, 2016
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 5
Caption: 'Toward Los Angeles, Calif.,' by Dorothea Lange, 1937. , Credit: Library of Congress
More than 100 million Americans will tune in to watch the Denver Broncos and the Carolina Panthers duke it out at Super Bowl 50. And in between the...

  • Added: Feb 05, 2016
  • Length: 54:00
Caption: 'Toward Los Angeles, Calif.,' by Dorothea Lange, 1937. , Credit: Library of Congress
30-second promo for "New & Improved" with 5-second music bed at end for station-specific time/date tag.

Bought by 90.1 WFYI Public Radio


  • Added: Feb 02, 2016
  • Length: :30
  • Purchases: 1
Caption: "The Witch No.1," lithograph by Joseph E. Baker, 1892 , Credit: Library of Congress
On this episode of BackStory, the Guys will explore our fascination with courtroom drama. What makes for a compelling case and why have some landma...

  • Added: Jan 29, 2016
  • Length: 54:00
Caption: The Witch No. 1 by J.E. Baker. , Credit: Library of Congress
On this episode of BackStory, the Guys will explore our fascination with courtroom drama. What makes for a compelling case and why have some landma...

Bought by KSVR Studios: Skagit Valley Radio, XRAY.fm, WEZU, WMUU-LP, WRPI and more


  • Added: Jan 29, 2016
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 8
Caption: "The Witch No.1," lithograph by Joseph E. Baker, 1892, Credit: Library of Congress
30-second promo for "Court of Public Opinion" with 5-second music bed at end for station-specific time/date tag.

Bought by 90.1 WFYI Public Radio


  • Added: Jan 26, 2016
  • Length: :30
  • Purchases: 1
Caption: "The great Bartholdi statue, Liberty enlightening the world," Currier & Ives, 1885, Credit: Library of Congress
In his final State of the Union address, President Obama called America “the most powerful nation on Earth,” saying, “When it comes to every import...

Bought by KPCC, WRGY, KSVR Studios: Skagit Valley Radio, Northeast Indiana Public Radio, XRAY.fm and more


  • Added: Jan 22, 2016
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 9
Caption: "The great Bartholdi statue, Liberty enlightening the world," Currier & Ives, 1885 , Credit: Library of Congress
In his final State of the Union address, President Obama called America “the most powerful nation on Earth,” saying, “When it comes to every import...

  • Added: Jan 22, 2016
  • Length: 54:00
Caption: "The great Bartholdi statue, Liberty enlightening the world," Currier & Ives, 1885 , Credit: Library of Congress
30-second promo for "City Upon a Hill" with 5-second music bed at end for station-specific time/date tag.

Bought by 90.1 WFYI Public Radio


  • Added: Jan 19, 2016
  • Length: :30
  • Purchases: 1
Caption: M. H. Kimball portrait of Isaac White and Rosina Downs, two New Orleans slave children, c. 1863. , Credit: Library of Congress
On this episode of BackStory, the Guys will consider how and why Americans throughout the centuries have crossed the lines of racial identity, and ...

  • Added: Jan 15, 2016
  • Length: 54:00
Caption: M. H. Kimball portrait of Isaac White and Rosina Downs, two New Orleans slave children, c. 1863. , Credit: Library of Congress
On this episode of BackStory, the Guys will consider how and why Americans throughout the centuries have crossed the lines of racial identity, and ...

Bought by Northeast Indiana Public Radio, WRGY, WRIR, KSVR Studios: Skagit Valley Radio, XRAY.fm and more


  • Added: Jan 15, 2016
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 10
Caption: M. H. Kimball portrait of Isaac White and Rosina Downs, two New Orleans slave children, c. 1863. , Credit: Library of Congress
30-second promo for "Color Lines" with 5-second music bed at end for station-specific time/date tag.

  • Added: Jan 12, 2016
  • Length: :30
Caption: Elektro the Moto-Man and his Little Dog Sparko, created by Westinghouse Electric Company for the 1939 World's Fair., Credit: New York City Public Library.
For as long as anyone can remember, Americans have pondered the possible future—from the flying cars and 3-hour workdays of The Jetsons to World Wa...

  • Added: Jan 08, 2016
  • Length: 54:00
Caption: Elektro the Moto-Man and his Little Dog Sparko, created by Westinghouse Electric Company for the 1939 World's Fair. , Credit: New York City Public Library
For as long as anyone can remember, Americans have imagined the future—from the flying cars and 3-hour workdays of The Jetsons to World War III and...

Bought by WRGY, KSVR Studios: Skagit Valley Radio, XRAY.fm, RadioFreePalmer, WMUU-LP and more


  • Added: Jan 08, 2016
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 7
Caption: Elektro the Moto-Man and his Little Dog Sparko, created by Westinghouse Electric Company for the 1939 World's Fair., Credit: New York City Public Library.
30-second promo for "The Future Then" with 5-second music bed at end for station-specific time/date tag.

Bought by 90.1 WFYI Public Radio


  • Added: Jan 05, 2016
  • Length: :30
  • Purchases: 1
Caption: NYC Deputy Police Commissioner John A. Leach watches Prohibition agents pour liquor into sewer following a 1921 raid. , Credit: Library of Congress.
A new year has dawned, and we’re willing to bet that Americans across the nation are fighting off hangovers after ringing it in with a drink—or thr...

Bought by XRAY.fm, KSVR Studios: Skagit Valley Radio, WRGY, WRIR, WYAP and more


  • Added: Jan 01, 2016
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 8
Caption: NYC Deputy Police Commissioner John A. Leach watches Prohibition agents pour liquor into sewer following a 1921 raid. , Credit: Library of Congress.
A new year has dawned, and we’re willing to bet that Americans across the nation are fighting off hangovers after ringing it in with a drink—or thr...

  • Added: Jan 01, 2016
  • Length: 54:00
Caption: NYC Deputy Police Commissioner John A. Leach watches Prohibition agents pour liquor into sewer following a 1921 raid., Credit: Library of Congress.
30-second promo for "Cheers and Jeers" with 5-second music bed at end for station-specific time/date tag.

Bought by 90.1 WFYI Public Radio


  • Added: Dec 29, 2015
  • Length: :30
  • Purchases: 1